Category Archives: Games

2012 Montreal Comicon – Day Two

“Will my talk be moderated, or am I setting the agenda?” I asked Dan, my convention liaison, as we got ready to head across the show floor to the theater were I’d be speaking.

He told me that I wasn’t moderated, and I could spend the hour however I wanted. I grabbed a copy of Sunken Treasure off my table and began putting together my mental setlist.

When we got into the theater, the Munchkin episode of Tabletop was playing on giant screens. About a thousand people were watching it while more people filled the remaining seats.

I’m not going to lie, Marge: seeing my show on a screen, ten feet tall and luminous, was awesome.

While I waited to go on stage, I looked through the book in my hands. I love the stories I put in there, but none of them really felt right. I cursed my damn brain for forgetting to remind me to remember to bring my iPad to the con, so I had access to the complete works of me,  Wil Wheaton, to choose from.

I looked up at the back of the screen, and saw myself playing games with my friends … and I knew exactly what I’d talk about.

When I was introduced, I walked out to a wonderful audience that made me feel like I was playing for the home team the entire time I was out there, even when I teased all of Canada about my Los Angeles Kings having the Stanley Cup. It was a great hour, where I spent about half talking about why I created Tabletop, and why gaming is so important to me. The second half I spent taking questions from the audience, talking about things from Sparks McGee to Stand By Me.

Even though I’m supremely jet lagged, and my scumbag brain has woke me up in the middle of the night and kept me awake for an hour two nights in a row that I’ve been here, I felt invigorated and damn good when I walked off that stage.

I know the talk was filmed and recorded. I hope it shows up online.

This is where I’d put a clever segue, if I wasn’t so fucking deliriously tired. Here are some pictures I took yesterday at the convention:

This adorable drawing was done by this adorable lady.

I made some more custom Cards Against Humanity cards:

I ran into two of my favourite people, and their booking agent photobombed us.

When someone asks you to sign a poster of the cast of Firefly, YOU! SAY! YES!

And then you sign right across Nathan Fillion’s junk.

So the the face I think I’m making is “oh my god this is so cute!” But it turns out that the face I’m actually making is Overly Attached Wil Wheaton.

The day ended with a game of Settlers of Catan. I started out fairly well, and then got trapped against the coast with 6 points. Luckily, I was able to build out toward the center of the board, get another city, and WIN THE FUCKING GAME with largest army and longest road.

I got so excited, I jumped up onto my chair, and nearly fell off the damn thing. I know the entire game was filmed by some guys, and I assume it will get online at some point. I’m red, if you want to try to put it all together. We’re playing on a beautiful, giant board.

I ended the day having a local beer (Maudite by Unibroue) with my friend Sam Witwer, who it turns out is on location in Montreal.

In about an hour, I’ll check out of my hotel and go back to the con for the final day. If the previous two days are any indication, it’s going to be great.

Here are my plans for PAX

Tomorrow, I'm heading up to Seattle for PAX Prime. This year, I hope to play a shitton of games, both of the Tabletop variety and the Video variety. To accomplish this noble goal, I'm not going to do a ton of signing like I've done in years past.

If you're planning to attend, and want to do things with me, or come see me do things, here's my schedule:

Friday Morning: Signing at Paul and Storm's table in Bandland.

Friday Afternoon: Playing Ticket To Ride in the Tabletop gaming area with Anne and the first five people who show up to play with us.

Saturday Morning: Signing at Paul and Storm's table in Bandland.

Saturday 3:30pm: Main Theater. Acquisitions, Incorporated. The Lost Episode. 

Sunday 11:30am: The Awesome Hour! Pegasus Theater. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS HAS BEEN UPGRADED. THE AWESOME HOUR IS NOW THE DON'T FORGET TO BE AWESOME HOUR, WITH PAUL AND STORM, AND HANK GREEN. Also, I'll be there telling stories and answering questions.

Sunday 1pm: Signing at Paul and Storm's table in Bandland.

Important note about signings: I'm going to PAX this year primarly as an attendee, so I won't have my own table in bandland. Instead, I've convinced Paul and Storm to let me crash their table for roughly one hour each day. For specific times I'll be there, check my Twitter account, which I'll update throughout the weekend.

I'm also bringing fifty of these silly Wheaton Paper Dolls with me for sale. Hopefully, I won't have to schlep 45 of them back home.

New #Tabletop: Elder Sign (or, in which I have a tentacle party with Felicia Day)

The newest Tabletop features a really fun dice game set in the Arkham Horror universe called Elder Sign.

Fantasy flight Games publishes an epic game called Arkham Horror that I just love. In the game, the players assume the role of Lovecraftian Pulp Investigators who are all working together to stop one of the Great Old Ones from devouring the world.

You know, like you do.

Arkham Horror is a complex, intricate, incredibly difficult, beautiful game. It's more like a guided role playing game where the board itself is the GM, and there really isn't another boardgame out there (that I can think of off the top of my head, anyway) that plays like it does. I would love to play it on Tabletop… but it takes a minimum of three hours, and if I put it on the show, I wouldn't do the game justice. There's just no way to edit a 3 or 4 or 5 hour game into 30 or even 45 minutes, while staying true to the heart and soul of the game.

Luckily for us, Fantasy Flight also publishes a cooperative dice game set in the Arkham Horror world called Elder Sign. Designed by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson (who also designed Arkham Horror), it takes about an hour to play, and while it isn't a scary and complex as Arkham, it is still beautiful and challenging. It was perfect for my show.

Follow this link, if you don't see the embedded video above, to watch Elder Sign at YouTube.

While I have your attention: 

At GenCon last weekend, the most frequently asked question I got was "When do you start the second season of Tabletop?"

The next most frequently asked question was, "What are you going to play on the second season?"

My answer to both of these questions is: "I have no idea, because we don't know if YouTube is going to fund a second season."

What usually followed was a series of confused noises and some stammering before the final question was asked: "How do I help you get a second season?"

Here is the answer:

The best and most effective way to support Tabletop — in fact, the only way that Google even cares about — is to subscribe to the channel, like and comment on the episodes (if you, you know, actually like them) and encourage everyone you know to do the same thing.

Google cares about interactions like that on their Premium Channels (like G&S), and while we all know we're never going to get the same numbers as the longtime YouTubers who are getting five million views per video, I think that if we can stay up in the six digits, we'll get another season.

It's amusing to me that we're not dealing with a studio or a network, but we still have to hit certain numbers to get more funding (just like we would if we were on broadcast television.)

Finally, I'll leave you with this:

image from 25.media.tumblr.com

You'll have to watch Tabletop's Elder Sign episode for context. But beware… there are some Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.

A few pictures from GenCon

Today and tomorrow, I'm narrating the audio version of Zach Weinersmith's The Trial of the Clone. I'm up nice and early because I'm apparently on the same schedule as my puppy.

In place of a proper post about GenCon (which was exhausting but lots of fun), here are a few pictures of awesome things I saw while I was there, starting with epic cosplay:

Walter, Donny (RIP) and The Dude.

Walter, Donny (RIP) and The Dude.

Corinthian

The most terrifying and perfect Corinthian cosplay I've ever seen. She made the eye pieces out of soft leather and affixed them with spirit gum. Amazing.

Dalek and River Song

Adorable Dalek and River Song

My favourite part of signing is meeting people who love the same things I love, and geeking out about those things. It's genuinely wonderful to talk with hundreds of people who are from The Tribe, you know? Signing for hours and hours at a time can get tiring, though, and one of the ways I restore HP and Mana during the day is by amusing myself when it's appropriate. Here are a few examples of me doing that at GenCon:

Edition Wars

This is from a game called Edition Wars. GMs are trying to get players to play their system, and you can make your own GM. So I made myself.

Sheldon Cooper

I sign a LOT of Big Bang Theory things, and whenever I get a chance to sign a picture of Jim as Sheldon, I write something like this on it. It amuses me almost as much as it tends to amuse the person I'm signing it for.

A ranking of Moustaches

Just, you know, ranking Moustaches on a scale of Hitler to Brimley. Like you do. And, yes, I realize I spelled Chaplin wrong.

Munchkin Cards

I'm also asked to make Munchkin cards from time to time. These are two of the ones I did this year. Steve Jackson even made them tournament-legal for the duration of GenCon!

People make me amazing things, and give me wonderful gifts at cons. Here are a few of the things I got to bring home:

8-bit Wheaton dice bag

This is a handmade, hand embroidered dice bag with 8-bit me on it!

Lego Sparks McGee

This Lego Sparks McGee is best in life.

Tabletop Fan Art

Tabletop fan art!!

I was so busy signing, I only got to play two games: Fiasco with my friends, using a playset they wrote me for my birthday, and True Dungeon with many of the same friends, where we sent the Draco Lich (Formerly known as the dragon Smoak, who I kind of one-shotted in 2010) to the void. You're welcome, people-who-no-longer-live-in-fear-of-the-Draco-Lich.

I can't even count the number of people who told me wonderful, personal stories about how Tabletop has touched their lives. When I have some more time, I'll share a few of them.

Is it really only 2 days until GenCon? Yes. Yes it is.

On Wednesday, I'm heading to GenCon in Indianapolis. I had a great time when I was there before, and I'm looking forward to attending this year.

Here's what you need to know, from GenCon:

Wil will be signing autographs in the Autograph Area of the Exhibit Hall, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning. Check local signage for exact times.

I hope that I'll have some time to do a True Dungeon run (since I killed a dragon the last time I was there), and I also hope that I'll return with lots of new games to consider for Tabletop. If you feel like tipping me off to something new and awesome, feel free to do it in the comments.

If you are coming to meet me, and want to give me some dice to add to my growing collection (it's for science!), I'd love to receive them.

Finally, this is an important thing I have to restate at least once a year:

I got the Swine Flu at PAX Prime, and it was the worst two weeks of my life. When we went to PAX East, all of us (Jerry, Mike, Kurtz, Straub, Paul and Storm, The Professor and Mary Ann) all agreed that we wouldn't shake hands, give hugs, or engage in human contact with people, to limit the introduction of infection vectors. Most people understood, and we gave each other the old Iron Guard Salute (not the fascist thing, the gaming thing that looks like like "love" in ASL). The result: a few people were cheesed off, but none of us were too upset about that, because none of us got sick. It was the first con I've gone to in my whole life where I didn't get some form of Con Crud, and I'd like to repeat that until we turn out the lights on Planet Earth. So, tl;dr: I'm not going to touch people at the con. I know it seems weird, but I hope you understand why. I'm not trying to be a dick, I'm trying not to get sick. 

 A non-zero number of readers seem to have a real problem with this, and people on the rest of the Internets are already giving me a hard time about it in very unkind terms. This makes me really sad; I hoped for a little more empathy and understanding. Not that it should matter, but I have Epstein-Barr, so my immune system isn't as robust as a normal person's; it is very easy for me to catch viruses and other nasty things. I'm not going to apologize for not wanting to get sick, especially after two weeks of Swine Flu. If you can't understand that, it's your problem, not mine.

Back to happier things: I'm going to bring some Tabletop posters, and a few of those silly 3 Wheaton Moon posters. I'll also have the usual collection of 8x10s. 

The best part of GenCon last time I attended — other than slaying the dragon, of course — was the time I spent talking with people and geeking out about the games we love. That's actually what I love about nerd cons in general, that we can let our geek flags fly without feeling even a little self conscious about it. I'm really looking forward to doing that again.

In addition to True Dungeon, I hope to have a Fiasco with some friends, find a Parsley RPG to play (or at least watch), get a new Utilikilt, and — of course — come home with lots and lots of dice.

 

 

New Tabletop! Say Anything with Matt Mira, Jonah Ray, and Josh Cagan!

Casual party games are a great infection vector for introducing tabletop gaming to our non-gaming friends. For experienced players, they're also fantastic palate cleansers between games of Puerto Rico and Power Grid.

This week's new Tabletop is a really fun, quick, easy, and profoundly silly party game called Say Anything.

 

If you like Say Anything, you'll probably like other casual tabletop games, like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and the three quick casual games we've already played (Tsuro, Zombie Dice, and Get Bit!).

These games are easy to learn, play very quickly, and can be found just about anywhere, from your Friendly Local Game Shop to big chain bookstores.

Introducing As Seen on Tabletop.

Tabletop on Geek and SundryEvery day, I get emails, messages on Twitter, and Ravens from people who have played a game because we played it on Tabletop. The stories and pictures are super awesome, and I want to share them with the world.

So I set up a Tumblr called As Seen On Tabletop for viewers to share your stories and pictures from your game nights, game days, and game shops.

You can either use the SUBMIT function there, or you can send email to tabletop (at symbol) wil wheaton (dot goes here) net.

 

 

The newest #Tabletop is a real #Fiasco!

The newest episode of Tabletop is Fiasco, my absolute favorite storytelling RPG of all time.

Fiasco is "a game about ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them, to put it mildly, and in the end it will probably all go south in a glorious heap of jealousy, murder, and recrimination. It’s designed to be played in a single session, usually around two and a half hours, with no prep."

When you have a Fiasco, you use a playset to establish the things the players are going to ruin their lives trying to get, who they are to each other, and where everything is going to get all fucked up. Some of my favourite playsets are Los Angeles 1936, Dallas 1963, and Flyover.

Saturday Night 78. A Fiasco Playset written by Wil Wheaton and Will Hindmarch, and Jason Morningstar.

The playset we used for Tabletop was written by me and Will Hindmarch, and Fiasco's creator Jason Morningstar. It's called Saturday Night 78. It is described thusly:

New York City, 1978. Last year, the city endured the chaos of the blackout of ‘77 and the terror of the Son of Sam killings. This year, Studio 54 makes millions by giving beautiful plebs and dazzling celebrities a place to party at $20 a head. Condensed sweat rains from Studio 54’s mirrored-laminate ceiling—sweat evaporated from the brows of celebrities, maybe—and falls back on the dancers below.

This is a time of rock and disco, of reckless hedonism and casual sex, a time before consequences. Debauchees high on blow, poppers, or Quaaludes dance and laugh and lust and cry in swank clubs and dirty dives all over the city. Whoever your characters are in the daylight, come dark they transform into sordid stars or disco royalty, beautiful disasters or pitiable victors, ricocheting off each other into the glittering wreckage of imploded parties. Every Saturday night the city’s alight with spectacular fiascos.

What's that you say? It sounds like an awesome setting that you'd like to use yourself? We've got you covered! You can download Saturday Night 78 for free right here, and use it in your very own Fiasco. And if you do, you know that I want to hear all about it in the comments.

Make your own Zombie Dice Brain Counters

One of the most frequently asked questions about Tabletop is: "How do I get those awesome brains you used as counters in Zombie Dice?"

They were made by our AMAZING art director and prop master, Nick, (who made the show look incredible, and still came in under his budget) out of some kind of foam that apparently kills you if you eat it, so I can't exactly tell people to go and do the same thing we did.

…but look at what Mel From Hell showed me on Twitter just now!

image from i.imgur.com
This was made with Sculpey, and is awesome. So now you know how to make your own cool Zombie Dice brain counters. 

Get Excited and Make Something!

Amber Benson, Meghan Camarena, and Michelle Boyd join me for GLOOM on #Tabletop

This week's new episode of Tabletop is online for your happy funtime enjoyment:

If the embed isn't working, or you want to see this in glorious SUPER MEGA HD, I've got you covered, because I love you.

A few notes:

* We have no control over the ads that run during Tabletop, so it's likely that you saw some bullshit Crossroads GPS political ad that's full of manipulative lies. I wish I could get YouTube to stop running these things on our show, but I have absolutely no say (nor does anyone at G&S) in the advertising. I do not endorse any of the ideas, products, or services that are advertised alongside Tabletop any more than the cast of Modern Family endorses the ideas, products, or services that run during their show. I wish I had control over this, but I don't. I'm told that if you don't want to see "sensitive" ads (which includes gross political ads) you can opt-out of "sensitive" ads in your preferences.

* It wasn't until we were editing this episode that I saw that Amber made an (unintentional) illegal play at the start of the game. Oops. Ultimately, it didn't really affect scoring, and it certainly didn't affect our enjoyment of the game, so it isn't the biggest deal to me, but I know that sort of thing is important to some viewers.

* It's been brought to my attention that some of the other players got away with a couple of technically illegal moves during the game. Again, for serious players, that's an important thing that shouldn't happen; for us, it didn't affect the fun we had while we were playing the game, but if we were to play a second round, I would make sure that everyone read the cards carefully so it didn't happen again.

* This leads into the final point: When we were putting these episodes together, we decided that nothing was more important than everyone having fun. We knew that we were going to make mistakes (we made more on Gloom than we did on any other game, mostly because everyone was having too much fun telling the silly story, and I was the only person at the table who had played Gloom more than once) and we knew that there was a certain type of person in the audience who was going to savage us for making those mistakes. We knew that, in that person's eyes, we were worse than Hitler for making rules errors or playing with a less-than-optimum strategy, and we decided that we aren't making this show for that person.

Okay, I think that covers it. Thanks for watching, and I hope you enjoy the show!